You call it logo. We call it brand identity. Just sounds so much more important. Why? Because it is darn important. It is the visual platform to all of your new brand’s communications. It is the visual foundation of the house you are about to build; the eye candy and sex appeal; the quick read ‘know it all’ brand identifier. Getting it right is an art. If I can give you only 3 pieces of advice before you dive head first into crafting this – did I say important? – piece of design with your agency or freelance design partner, these are the ones to keep up front and center on your dashboard throughout your journey:
You (will) have many ideas for how your new brand’s logo should look and what it should convey. I am here to tell you, sorry, you can’t fit them all into an identity design. You can try, but you will fail and you will suddenly find yourself not communicating anything at all. Your logo will look more like a painting of sorts and it will confuse rather than educate. Great identities convey one or two messages and they work because they do just that: They have a focus. They focus on the most important message through concept and visual target audience appeal through colors and typography. Ask yourself ‘What is the big idea and who should it cater to?’ A brand identity is a simple mark not a canvas. At times you are able to convey multiple concepts by refining areas of the logotype or mark, but it’s a lengthy and diligent process. When we re-branded Creative Talent Agency Match a few years back, we were able to communicate the symbiotic relationship between client and talent agency as well as talent and talent agency through typography that is co-dependent. We further use the letter A as a stand alone mark that signifies a computer cursor, which describes the online nature of the agency in a subliminal manner. Yet the identity does not look busy or complex. It’s a simple concept that is hiding subliminal messages within.
Don’t think of today. Think of tomorrow. Create an identity that not only will convey who you (company/product/service) will be in a couple years down the line, but also will keep connecting with your audience three to five years down the road. Don’t make it hip. Create something that has the ingredients to be timeless. We created the below identity for Don Joaquin’s line of Guacamole eight years ago and it works just as well in today’s overly crowded marketplace as it did back then because we focused stylistically on tradition while forming timeless emotional connections with the consumer. There was nothing hip about it then and there’s nothing hip about it now, and that is why it works.
Your identity should surprise the segment you are about to disrupt. Show your competitors and consumers alike that there is a new player in the field. That alone is often the key ingredient for the initial purchase, or call – out of intrigue. Just like that funky tasting soft drink you tried out the other day because it looked so different and enticing, you just had to give it a shot. If your product or service is not like all the others, your logo needs to stand tall behind that claim and represent it visually as the key creative element that will be on all your outreach materials. When we crafted the identity for an online music service that promised to shake things up amongst traditional record labels, we decided to return the power of music to the hands of the individual, may that be the artist or the listener. It made a statement and conveyed disruption. Soon after launch the CEO told me that a complete stranger stopped him while wearing a company T-Shirt and said ‘The power of music, that’s a great shirt man.’ Little did he know it was a brand mark.